Some news and notes for this Tuesday:
1) The Patriots posted photos from day one of OTAs on Monday night and it appears that attendance was pretty strong as the club got to work preparing for the 2021 season.
They posted 50 in total, with all the quarterbacks on hand on Monday throwing passes to a variety of pass-catchers that included Kendrick Bourne, Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, Nelson Agholor, Matt LaCosse, and a plethora of others. Rookie Mac Jones was spotted obviously working hard along with newly signed Brian Hoyer (now wearing #5, he wore #2 previously), a much longer-haired Jarrett Stidham, and Cam Newton.
Defensively, there appeared to be good attendance there, with Chase Winovich, Josh Uche, Deatrich Wise Jr, Raekwon McMillan, Davon Godchaux and Montravius Adams among what appeared to be a pretty strong group. Both Adams, Uche and McMillan were each seen in several photos with Bill Belichick working directly with them, with one photo even showing the 69-year-old head coach in close with his hands on Adams’ pads seemingly coaching him on technique.
For those interested, here’s the full link of photos and it will be definitely nice to hopefully start hearing a little more when the club opens the sessions up to the media beginning on Thursday.
2) Patriots safety Kyle Dugger switched his number to #23, which was the number of now-retired safety, Patrick Chung.
Chung and Dugger must have discussed the change, with Chung Tweeting to Dugger telling him to “Wear it well”.
Wear it well young savage @kingdugg_3
— Patrick Chung (@PatrickChung23) May 25, 2021
Dugger’s emergence last season was big as he seemed to seamlessly handle Chung’s role after the veteran safety opted out of the 2020 season. Mike Reiss pointed out in his Sunday notes that Dugger has also been getting texts from former Patriots safety, Rodney Harrison, with Harrison offering to help as often as he’d like.
“Even this offseason, I text him and say, ‘Hey, send me some clips you want me to look over of you in coverage,'” Harrison told Reiss.
“I love the kid, his attitude. He’s such a humble kid, and he wants to be really good. He asks questions.”
It’s been a solid start for Dugger, who now has an opportunity to grow in that role moving forward and it should be fun to watch him hopefully take the next step in 2021.
3) Tedy Bruschi weighed in on the Patriots quarterback situation on Tuesday, offering up his thoughts on how Belichick will handle things on the morning’s addition of “Get Up”.
“I think there’s a little bit of Bill that knows how to coddle players, especially at the quarterback positions and slowly give him bits that he can digest and understand,” Bruschi said via 247 Sports. “Mac is used to the pressure coming from he came from in Alabama and Nick Saban, but they’ll work him well. … What’s interesting to think about is how they’ll handle the transition, when it is, if they go from Cam Newton to Mac Jones because of the highly emotional creature Cam Newton is and how he wears it on his sleeve. Is it going to be because of injury or play or both, so that’s going to be a delicate process in itself.”
With such a close similarity in terms of coaching style between Saban and Belichick, Jones is certainly used to being coached hard and he looked more than up for the challenge even from the moment he was selected. How he develops in the months ahead is going to be big and while it would be hard to imagine him being thrust into the starting role right away, it’s hard not to look forward to seeing how he looks by the time camp starts and whether or not it ends up translating to playing time at some point in 2021.
Jones was spotted wearing #50 on Monday, although he looked a little light compared to Chase Winovich, who wears that number. These numbers are obviously temporary but it was definitely a little funny to see in the photos.
4) One of the sadder stories in the league on Tuesday was the fact that former NFL player, Greg Olsen, revealed some heartbreaking news about his son, T.J.
The 8-year old, who has been dealing with significant heart issues since birth, is apparently not doing well and the prognosis doesn’t sound promising.
“This past week has been exceptionally challenging for our family. As many of you know, our son TJ has faced serious heart issues since birth,” wrote Olsen on his Instagram page. “TJ has already undergone 3 open-heart surgeries and has survived with a modified heart for his first 8 years,” Olsen wrote.
“Unfortunately, it seems his heart is reaching its end. We are currently working through the process to determine our next steps, which ultimately could lead to a heart transplant.”
It’s definitely very sad news and fingers crossed that they find a donor.
5) The NFL.com’s Nick Shook looked at the top 10 deep passers of 2020 and there was a surprising name listed at the top.
Shook, who got the information from the league’s Next Gen Stats, found that the Giants’ Daniel Jones led all quarterbacks last season, ahead of Las Vegas QB Derek Carr (#2), Arizona’s Kyler Murray (#3), Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (#4), Houston’s Deshaun Watson (#5), Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield (#6), Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins (#7), Seattle’s Russell Wilson (#8), Chargers QB Justin Herbert (#9) and Buffalo’s Josh Allen (#10).
Overall, Jones hit on 19-of-39 deep attempts for 636 yards, 5 touchdowns and no interceptions, with a QB rating of 134.4%.
Here’s what Shook had to say about Jones in his evaluation:
“Giants fans looking for proof that Jones can become the franchise QB he was drafted to be are getting a generous helping with this choice,” writes Shook. “Sure, it’s a surprise to everyone to see him No. 1, but the numbers don’t lie.”
“Jones went deep just 39 times but was very effective when doing so, and his year-to-year improvement is incredibly encouraging. After posting a CPOE of -4.9 percent in 2019, Jones took a massive leap in 2020 to +14.8 percent, an improvement of +19.7 percentage points, the largest in the entire league from 2019 to 2020.”
“It seems head coach Joe Judge’s arrival did more than just turn the Giants into a scrappy bunch — it also elevated Jones’ effectiveness downfield. His passer rating on deep throws was the highest in the league at 134.3, and his completion percentage on such attempts (48.7) was the fourth-highest mark. Jones still has to prove he has what it takes to help the team be a consistent winner, but if he remains on this trajectory, we might not be spending much more of our future days debating his viability.”
The Giants are likely hoping Jones can build on that performance, as second-year head coach, Joe Judge, saw his club finish 6-10 in 2020.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Aaron Rodgers Arizona Cardinals Baker Mayfield Brian Hoyer Buffalo Bills Cam Newton Chase Winovich Cleveland Browns Daniel Jones Davon Godchaux Deatrich Wise Jr. Derek Carr Deshaun Watson Green Bay Packers Greg Olsen Houston Texans Hunter Henry Jonnu Smith Josh Allen Josh Uche Justin Herbert Kendrick Bourne Kirk Cousins Kyle Dugger Kyler Murray Las Vegas Raiders Los Angeles Chargers Mac Jones Matt Lacosse Minnesota Vikings Montravius Adams Nelson Agholor NY Giants Raekwon McMillan Rodney Harrison Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks Tedy Bruschi